We understand that as a UT Health Austin patient, you may have some questions about COVID-19. We’ve answered some frequently asked questions here:

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new coronavirus (a type of virus that includes the common cold) that can spread from person to person. The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact with people who are unwell.

What are the symptoms?

People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms that may include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches and pains, or shortness of breath.

COVID-19 Symptoms



Shortness of Breath

People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. People who are immunocompromised may have fewer symptoms (e.g. absence of fever) when they initially get sick. For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

How does novel coronavirus spread?

Health experts are still learning the details. Currently, it is thought to spread:

• Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

• Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet).

Droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

What is UT Health Austin doing to protect patients and healthcare workers?

Click here to see our most up-to-date protocols.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you have an appointment scheduled and have a fever and/or respiratory symptoms, call your health care provider or UT Health Austin at 833-882-2737 before coming in for your appointment. The line is answered from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you are at the clinic and experience symptoms, we will assess your risk of exposure to COVID-19 by asking additional questions. Anyone with symptoms will be given a mask and evaluated in a separate area.

What can I do to keep myself, my family, and friends safe?

  • Avoid going to gatherings with large numbers of people; heed social distancing guidelines.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Practice good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Plan how you will take care of sick family members. Make plans for childcare if you are sick or if your child is sick. Have a thermometer at home so you can check for fever if you or a loved one feels ill.
  • Try to get a few extra months’ worth of your prescription medications, if possible.
  • Stay informed — check the CDC site regularly for new updates.